Transport for London has announced that the Elizabeth Line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood on 24 May, so long as final safety checks are satisfactory. However, Bond Street station will not open until later in the year, because work is still unfinished there.
Trains will run every five minutes between 06.30 and 23.00 Monday to Saturday, but there will be no Sunday services for the time being so that testing and software updates can continue in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn. The Platinum Jubilee weekend will be an exception, and there will be a service on Sunday 5 June from 08.00 to 20.00.
The opening will also cue the abolition of the temporary TfL Rail brand, and trains from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will all be marked ‘Elizabeth Line’. However, passengers from the western side will have to change for now at Paddington and those from Shenfield at Liverpool Street.
Transport for London is planning to connect the suburban lines to the central tunnels this autumn, so that through services can run. The frequency of trains in the central section will also then be increased to 22 trains an hour in the peaks between Paddington and Whitechapel.
All Elizabeth Line stations will be staffed throughout traffic hours, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance, and the stations between Paddington and Woolwich will be step-free.
TfL commissioner Andy Byford said: ‘I am delighted that we can now announce a date for the opening of the Elizabeth Line. We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the line ready to welcome customers. The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network.’
London Mayor Sadiq Khan added: ‘I’m delighted that our world-class new Elizabeth line will be opening to passengers later this month, helping build a better London – one which is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.’
The line was originally due to open in December 2018.